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(Pocket-lint) – Amazon’s family of Fire tablets remain a popular choice for those who want affordable entertainment devices. In this family, the Fire HD 8 occupies a middle position, light and compact enough to carry, but big enough to give you a decent experience when watching a movie on the go.
With an updated model arriving in 2022, replacing the variant launched in 2020, what has changed and which one to choose?
Price and availability
- Fire HD 8 (2022): from $99.99 / £99 / €114.99
- Fire HD 8 (2020): from $89.99 / £89 / €89.99.
Both versions of the Fire HD 8 tablet are available on Amazon, with pre-orders open for the 2022 device, which should hit shelves on October 19.
The 2020 version of the Fire HD 8 is available at a wide range of retailers and is cheaper than the new device which has a high launch price.
Design and manufacture
- Fire HD 8 (2022): 201.90 x 137.34 x 9.60mm, 337g
- Fire HD 8 (2020): 202 x 137 x 9.7mm, 355g
There’s not a huge difference between the 2022 Fire HD 8 and the 2020 model it updates. Both tablets look essentially the same, but the new version is slightly thinner – by just a fraction of a mm – but weighs almost 20g less.
The overall design is the same, with a plastic rear and even edges around the outside of the screen to give some room to grip the device. Color options for the new model are black, denim, and pink, while the older model comes in black, plum, blue, or white.
There’s also a Fire HD 8 Plus model, which is a bit heavier and comes in gray with a few extra features which we’ll explain below.
All models offer stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, making them a great entertainment device. Detail buffs will note that the volume rocker and power buttons have changed positions between these models.
The 2022 model also uses 35% post-consumer recycled plastics.
- Fire HD 8 (2022): 8 inches, 1280 x 800 pixels, 189ppi
- Fire HD 8 (2020): 8 inches, 1280 x 800 pixels, 189ppi
There’s no difference in the screen: it’s the same size, the same resolution, the same overall experience.
It’s not the sharpest display in the Fire tablet family – that’s reserved for the Fire HD 10 – but it’s an ideal size for watching movies on the go, with enough resolution for the task.
- Fire HD 8 (2022): hexa-core 2.0GHz, 2GB RAM, 32/64GB storage + microSD (1TB)
- Fire HD 8 (2020): 2.0GHz quad-core, 2GB RAM, 32/64GB storage + microSD (1TB)
When it comes to hardware, there are a few differences. The big difference is that the 2022 model of the Fire HD 8 moves to a hexa-core processor, compared to the quad-core of the predecessor.
Amazon claims this results in a 30% increase in performance, which means things will just run a little faster.
That should mean the 2022 Fire HD 8 delivers a better overall experience – while also boasting slightly longer battery life – 13 hours compared to 12 hours on the older model.
The Fire HD 8 Plus models (2020 and 2022 versions) increase the RAM to 3 GB and additionally offer Qi wireless charging.
Both of these tablets run Fire OS, which is Amazon’s version of Android. It doesn’t support the Google Play Store, but you’ll need to use the Amazon AppStore to download the apps and services you want.
That covers most entertainment apps, lots of games, and a whole lot more – and the experience between these devices should be pretty much the same.
The 2022 Fire HD 8 introduces Tap to Alexa on the accessibility side, although we suspect an update to the older model will likely bring this functionality in the future.
There’s not much to choose between these two tablets. They are basically the same except for a slight change to a thinner and lighter design.
The most appealing element will be the power boost, which will make the 2022 model just that bit better – and likely worth the minimal price difference.
However, it’s likely the Fire HD 8 2020 will get Black Friday discounts, but the Fire HD 8 2022 won’t – so if you’re looking for a bigger discount, you’re better off going with the older tablet.
Written by Chris Hall.